In a comment on "Stability of SARS-CoV-2 in different environmental conditions", published today in The Lancet Microbe, it is stated that household soap is highly effective on the skin. Not much further down the same paragraph it is noted that soap cannot be used as a surface disinfectant for SARS-CoV-2.

So why is it so effective on hands, but so ineffective on a sink?

  • $\begingroup$ Are you sure that's what the comment actually says? $\endgroup$
    – Bryan Krause
    Aug 8, 2020 at 13:20
  • $\begingroup$ Can you please cite the paragraph which states that? $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Aug 8, 2020 at 13:24
  • $\begingroup$ In the third paragraph it says, "The virucidal effects of different disinfectants on SARS-CoV-2 were investigated with a number of incubation times (eg, 5, 15, and 30 min), and no infectious virus could be detected in all cases with the exception of a 5-min incubation with hand soap." $\endgroup$ Aug 8, 2020 at 13:25
  • $\begingroup$ My question is meant as "why is soap effective on the hands, but not on surfaces". Perhaps it is due to different modes of application between washing and disinfecting. One involves constant friction, the other just exposure. $\endgroup$ Aug 8, 2020 at 13:33
  • $\begingroup$ Where does it say anything specifically about the effect of disinfectant on SURFACES? $\endgroup$
    – ennui
    Aug 14, 2020 at 14:00


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